Winn Development opened their $21.5 million adaptive reuse project to the local New Haven, CT community. The former East Haven High School was converted into “The Tyler,” a mixed-income apartment community for seniors 55 and older. MHA Boston consulted on federal and state historic tax credits and the project also came to fruition with the help of low-income housing tax credits.
East Haven High School was completed in 1936 under the Public Works Administration (PWA), part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal.” The three-story, Colonial Revival style school was designed by preeminent Connecticut architect Roy W. Foote.
The school incorporated a modern curriculum focused on practical skills and job preparedness in response to a new wave of students opting to leave high school to take on jobs to support their family. Thus, efforts were made to support these students in addition to the traditional college-track pupils.
The school prioritized students’ happiness and health and this is reflected in the design of the building. Proper ventilation and sanitation were paramount in the configuration of the school. The school’s large windows created natural light and aided air circulation and the school’s gymnasium and auditorium were used for physical education and a variety of extracurricular activities.
Later additions to the school campus were completed in 1964 and 1973 as the area’s population increased. Finally, in 1997, the community outgrew the historic structure and moved on to a newly built school on another site. In 1998, East Haven High School closed and began its 22-year period of vacancy.
Both the main 1936 building and the 1964 addition were rehabilitated. During the rehabilitation, every effort was made to preserve significant interior and exterior character-defining features. Exterior preservation work focused on the original masonry, wood cornices and brackets, the school’s clock, entry transoms, and door frames. In the interior, exposed terrazzo flooring, lockers, soffits, boards, display cases, classroom entry doors, and historic stairs were preserved.
In trailblazing form, the property is predicted to be the first multifamily project in the nation to use historic rehab tax credits and meet the Germany-based Passive House Institute’s EnerPHit standard for energy efficiency. It also is expected to be the first EnerPHit-certified multifamily project in Connecticut. Modernization of the property included upgraded HVAC and utilities, super-efficient exterior wall, slab, and roof insulation, a new elevator, and Energy Star LED lighting and appliances. The reuse nature of the project translated into the avoidance of 18,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that would have been created as the result of new construction.
Residents of The Tyler can enjoy many amenities, including a fitness center, craft room, outdoor courtyard, on-site management office, and a resident lounge. The Columbus House, a nonprofit focused on supporting individuals at risk of becoming homeless, will provide residents with on-site economic empowerment programming that includes financial self-sufficiency, fraud avoidance, health preventative education, and medication management.
- Preservation Connecticut | 2021 Connecticut Preservation Merit Award
- Novogradac Journal of Historic Tax Credits | 2021 Historic Rehabilitation Award for HTC Residential Development That Best Exemplifies Major Community Impact
- Affordable Housing Finance Magazine | 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards for Overall Best Development & Best Green Development
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